How to launch new ideas VI Inside the words - 2 (Presentation


countries is pronounced cuntriis with the second vowel group ie
pronounced ii . The o highlighted here in dark green – countries – is
really a ‘signaling vowel’ and in fact a ‘sleeping signaling letter’ – like
the g in sign but here it comes before the letter it is giving us
information about, whereas in sign the ‘sleeping signaling letter’ was
the g which came after the vowel i – which was what it was changing.
And this time, it’s a vowel, not a consonant. But pro-actively (make
note of that word, I want to use it again…) it’s doing a very similar job.

I will put in an arrow to make that clearer: countries –just as we
used an arrow in sign . I have put the signaling letter in green and put
the modified vowel in purple, using an arrow to show the effect the
letter has in the word, – and the direction from which the modifying
influence is coming: in this case forwards, pro-actively ; whereas in
sign the g operates backwards, retroactively…

country in fact comes from a Latin word meaning the ‘land which is
lying against [in Latin against is contra] a town’.
English introduced the u and changed the pronunciation, making the vowel sound
lower in the throat when spoken (from o pronounced in the middle to top of the
throat, and somewhere in the middle top half, with the mouth half-open and the
sound flying straight out and forwards; to uhh, pronounced in the lower part of
the bottom of the throat, with the mouth fully open, and feeling almost as if it is
directing the sound down towards the ground…)

That sort of thing is always happening in languages, which are like a
collection of things in your house, some new – maybe yours – and some
older, maybe belonging to your parents; and some older still, belonging
to maybe your grandparents, or even people who are no longer alive…

I’m not going to go through all the words in the extract, but just the
ones you might have difficulty with. great was one, but you already
know this word; it’s just the spelling, which reflects a sound ai-i-i

We had churches – an example of ‘nouns ending in a hissing, buzzing or
shushing sound’ – in Alison Head’s words – which (when you are
talking of two or more of them) is done by spelling es rather than
just s : such word endings are pronounced -is. In our definition, it’s
the pro-active influence of the consonant friends ch ( consonant friends
when audible, I have put in in purple, example ch; but when they are
not audible - example sign – I have put them in dark blue, and called
them a consonant pair )

CHURCHES : Tudeley – above, with windows by Marc Chagall – and the
much larger Romsey Abbey, two English churches. Click here for a
presentation of Chagall’s windows at Tudeley. Click here for video of
which may give you some idea of what it’s like to overhear glorious
music being played in Romsey Abbey. And finally, here’s a transcript of
the clip about the Marc Chagall windows…


villages (j sound) and beaches, behave exactly the same way.
In boat the vowel sound is ouu and the a is a signaling, sleeping
vowel, because it does not appear in the pronunciation, it just
indicates that this a modified or changed o sound, so we should
maybe write the word for study purposes with an arrow

And castle is a Roman word originally, Latin
cast-ellum (the first four letters are the same). French has a ch instead
of the c and the s is lost and hidden in a small sign over the a like this â
while the end of the word is eau, whereas in English it is quite close to
the Latin castellum: it retains the l
English: c a s t l e
French: ch â t eau
Latin : c a s te ll um

I have put the endings of this word in green. The ending is the
least important part, and if it gets changed, people still
understand the word. But in these words the beginning (in
yellow) is important, and even though French loses the s the t is
still there after the strong ch at the start of the word. Words do
things like that. Let us call them, ‘Words Changing in Different
Languages’ (WCIDL).

So words change in different languages – but really they remain
the same word: just as the Queen will wear quite different
clothes when opening Parliament, when attending the Highland
Games, when at church, or when at ‘Royal Ascot’: but she will
still remain the same nice, friendly, well-known, clever Queen.
The different versions of a word in different languages are
known as ‘cognates’, by the way, from a Latin word meaning to

The Queen’s State Opening of Parliament The Queen watching the Highland Games

The Queen arriving at Westminster Abbey The Queen at Ascot (place of horse races)

bcd fgh jkl mnp stv w r uayie o
sixteen or …seventeen five or…..six

Next will be a presentation about letter dynamics – explaining more vividly the
word changes which we have been looking at – and we’ll touch on the particularly
interesting words which I added a star to: yes can you and game. There
are two main sources for this (anyone can use them) a Google search on the word
and ‘etymology’ – and the ‘Online Etymological Dictionary’ – a great tool for
languages. Using it all the time, we discover the interest of words ,and counteract
the daily state school grappling with a small, dead and dried-up part of English…!